Probably too late, now

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Sep 29 15:43:53 UTC 2007

Merely as a point of interest: the Century Dictionary of 1889 already recognized only the
  "c-ful"  pronunciation.

  But Arnold's info persuades me to revert.


"Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Arnold M. Zwicky"
Subject: Re: Probably too late, now

On Sep 28, 2007, at 4:07 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> ... As children in Saint Louis, we were specifically taught, in
> fourth-grade "georgaphy" - another pronunciation that the nuns labored
> to eliminate - that "Arctic" was to be pronounced as though spelled
> "Artic" [artIk] and *not* as [arktIk].. As a consequence, for the past
> sixty years or so, I've been incredibly annoyed by the
> seemingly-universal use of the spelling-pronunciation, [ar_k_tIk].

like jon lighter, and no doubt many others here, i had exactly the
reverse experience. the facts are more complex than either of these
teachings would suggest. from the American Heritage Book of English
Usage (1996):

_Arctic_ was originally spelled in English without the first _c_,
which was later reintroduced after the original spelling in Greek.
Both [pronunciations] are equally acceptable...

the Wikipedia page on "words of disputed pronunciation" shows a very
complex pattern of advice (in this summary, (1) is the [k]-less
pronunciation, (2) the pronunciation with [k]):

The debate is whether or not the cluster is pronounced [kt] or
just [t]. M-W lists both, with (1) first, but OED only lists (2)
while noting that the oldest spelling (dating from the 14th century)
is _Artik_, implying that (1) is the older pronunciation. EEPD lists
only (2). LPD lists both for both British and American English, but
marks (1) as "considered incorrect" for British. K&K list both but
mark (2) as "now rare". Generally, the same pronunciation for the
cluster is used for both _arctic_ and _antarctic_. However, M-W
lists (2) first for _antarctic_.

M-W: the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
EEPD: Everyman's English Pronouncing Dictionary (Gimson rev., 1977)
LPD: Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (1990)
K&K: Kenyon & Knott, A Pronouncing Dictionary of American English


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